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Galveston Nearing Deal On Oasis Class Ship, New Terminal!

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Thanks to @Wilson for tipping me off to this!  Today's Galveston Daily News is reporting that the Port is near a deal with Royal Caribbean to bring an Oasis Class ship to Galveston in late 2020.  The Port says Royal Caribbean would build the terminal on land leased from the Port of Galveston. 

The full article from the Galveston Daily News requires a subscription, but here is the full text:

GALVESTON - July 15, 2018

Port of Galveston officials are nearing an agreement with Royal Caribbean to build a third cruise terminal at the Port of Galveston that could cost $85 million and bring the world’s largest passenger ship to the island in 2020.

“We’re working toward a really good agreement,” said Ted O’Rourke, chairman of the port’s governing board. “It’s a great opportunity if we are able to put it together.”

 

Port Director Rodger Rees in March announced that Royal Caribbean wanted to bring an Oasis-class ship to the island, but that doing so would require a new cruise terminal.

The port already is home to two cruise terminals at piers 25 and 27, but the size of the Oasis-class ships requires additional support, officials said.

Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships, of which there are four with more planned, are more than 1,180 feet long and capable of carrying more than 6,200 passengers.

Officials are discussing putting the third cruise terminal at Pier 10, next to the Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics and BMW vehicle processing plant, Rees said.

“Right now, the talk is about having Royal Caribbean come in and build the terminal themselves, then we’d have them lease the land from the port, sharing in revenues with them. We’d control the parking aspect of it,” Rees said.

Royal Caribbean officials did not respond to a request for comment by deadline Friday.

The proposed facility would have to be about 155,000 square feet, port officials said.

The BMW facility would not have to move under current plans, Rees said.

The benefit of having Royal Caribbean build the cruise terminal would be that the port wouldn’t have to take on substantial debt and would, instead, be able to focus on its substantial infrastructure needs, Rees said.

Ever since the Carnival Celebration made its first voyage from the island in September 2000, the port has come to depend more and more on the cruise business for revenues.

The port depends heavily on revenues from cruise ships. Port officials anticipate about 55 percent of revenue budgeted for 2018 will be cruise related.

Port officials are projecting operating revenues of about $37.4 million in 2018 against operating expenditures of $37.2 million, according to documents.

“This doesn’t use up our borrowing power to build a new terminal,” Rees said.

 

Addressing dilapidated facilities at the island’s public docks could cost as much as $250 million, a problem exacerbated by the fact the port is projected to bring in only about $250,000 in net income in 2018, port officials said.

For a third cruise terminal to be ready to host an Oasis-class ship in the fall of 2020, officials will need a project planned and designed by about November, Rees said in a previous interview with The Daily News.

There is not yet a final agreement with Royal Caribbean, and all details of the proposed third cruise terminal could still change, Rees said.

The Wharves Board of Trustees must approve whatever agreement is eventually reached with the cruise line, Trustee Elizabeth Beeton said.

The Port of Galveston is a landlord port, which generates much of its income from lease agreements with maritime tenants and fees related to ship calls.

The port is home to three year-round Carnival Cruise Line ships, one year-round Royal Caribbean ship, one seasonal Royal Caribbean ship and a seasonal Disney Cruise Lines ship.

The Carnival Vista, the cruise line’s newest and biggest ship, will arrive at Galveston’s docks Sept. 23.

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I'd love to see it happen and it makes sense.  What else is Royal going to do with a fifth OA class ship coming soon?  Many of Liberty's ports of call are already OA class destinations.

However these rumors have circulated for a while.  The local squabbling over this concept was left out of the article.   If I recall the City and the Port Board are often at odds with each other with a lot of small town politics in play.  Now it seems Royal will just lease the land and pay for the terminal.  It would be interesting to hear what Royal has to say about that. 

This outcome is likely attributed to the animosity between the City and the Port.  With the debt issues out of the way, what other means will the City use to block it? 

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You're right about Galveston politics @twangster. It's been a crazy political climate with a thriving "good ole' boy (and girl)" network since the pirate Jean Lafitte arrived on the island in the early 19th century.  It continued through the gambling and prostitution of the first half of the 20th century, and is alive and well today.  

Up until now the Port of Galveston has invested in improving the cruise terminal assets on a shoestring budget with local funding.  Early this year the Port hired new Port Director Rodger Rees (the Deputy Executive Director and CFO at Port Canaveral).  He's brought an outside perspective and knowledge of how to run a large cruise port.  I think his leadership was key to Royal agreeing to build and pay for the terminal instead of the Port building and paying for it.  Of course the Port being many months late on expanding Terminal 2 for Liberty of the Seas a couple years ago probably helped Royal decide they need to control the Terminal 3 project.  It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

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This is awesome .... I love the idea of a public/private partnership.

 

It would be great if the State of Maryland could do the same thing .... build a new terminal south of the Bay Bridge so height won't be a factor and you wouldn't lose the proximity of 4 Major Markets (Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh) and beyond.  Lord knows with Grandeur selling out on almost every cruise, there's definitely room for growth there.

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2 hours ago, coneyraven said:

It would be great if the State of Maryland could do the same thing .... build a new terminal south of the Bay Bridge to height won't be a factor and you would lose the proximity of 4 Major Markets (Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh) and beyond.  Lord knows with Grandeur selling out on almost every cruise, there's definitely room for growth there.

Average water depths of 18' outside of the main channel would mean a lot of dredging.  I bet there would be pretty significant opposition and legal challenges not to mention extreme cost to acquire land.  Think of the crabs that would be lost.  Just so some people can sail on a bigger cruise ship?  It's a good thing many locals love Lady G.   

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On 7/16/2018 at 8:29 AM, coneyraven said:

This is awesome .... I love the idea of a public/private partnership.

 

It would be great if the State of Maryland could do the same thing .... build a new terminal south of the Bay Bridge so height won't be a factor and you wouldn't lose the proximity of 4 Major Markets (Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh) and beyond.  Lord knows with Grandeur selling out on almost every cruise, there's definitely room for growth there.

I would love to see options in Maryland! Were in western NY that would be a easy day drive for us to and a lot less expensive then flying to Florida! I won't complain about more options 🙂 NJ and Maryland are the drivable ports form here. 🙂

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1 hour ago, Kim&N8 said:

I would love to see options in Maryland! Were in western NY that would be a easy day drive for us to and a lot less expensive then flying to Florida! I won't complain about more options 🙂 NJ and Maryland are the drivable ports form here. 🙂

I'd love to see options in Colorado but sadly will have to wait for a major rise of ocean levels before a cruise ship will be home porting anywhere near me.  

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I loved sailing from Galveston before retiring to Florida.  This would be a great thing for everyone involved.

The biggest question mark?  The port of Galveston Authority.  If anyone can mess it up, they can!

 

 

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On 7/26/2018 at 1:02 PM, PRC said:

I loved sailing from Galveston before retiring to Florida.  This would be a great thing for everyone involved.

The biggest question mark?  The port of Galveston Authority.  If anyone can mess it up, they can!

 

 

Good to hear from you, Paul.  

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Glad I did a search before creating a new topic.

This article from the Houston Chronicle focuses on the arrival of the Carnvial Vista taking the title of largest cruise ship serving Galveston.  However, the last couple of paragraphs transition to talking about how that title may be reclaimed by Royal with the arrival of an Oasis class at a new terminal.  Having read both articles, I'm not sure this one adds anything new, but it does lend credence to the story.

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/Port-of-Galveston-prepares-to-welcome-Carnival-13164679.php

Would definitely be cool to be able to enjoy an Oasis class without having to fly.

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52 minutes ago, ultimate_ed said:

Glad I did a search before creating a new topic.

This article from the Houston Chronicle focuses on the arrival of the Carnvial Vista taking the title of largest cruise ship serving Galveston.  However, the last couple of paragraphs transition to talking about how that title may be reclaimed by Royal with the arrival of an Oasis class at a new terminal.  Having read both articles, I'm not sure this one adds anything new, but it does lend credence to the story.

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/Port-of-Galveston-prepares-to-welcome-Carnival-13164679.php

Would definitely be cool to be able to enjoy an Oasis class without having to fly.

Goes to show how the media rarely gets it right, Vista isn't the largest ship in Galveston. 

Carnival Vista: 133,500 GT, 1,055 ft long, 3,950 passenger capacity 

Liberty of the Seas: 154,407 GT, 1,111 ft long, 4,370 passenger capacity (4,960 maximum theoretical capacity if every bed was occupied)

Largest cruise ship at the Carnival pier maybe.  Carnival only has medium sized ship, by RC standards.

Largest cruise ship when Liberty of the Seas isn't in port?

Furthermore, Vista isn't Carnival's largest ship either.  Sister ship Carnival Horizon is 96 GT larger and has 4 additional passengers.

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2 hours ago, twangster said:

Goes to show how the media rarely gets it right, Vista isn't the largest ship in Galveston. 

Carnival Vista: 133,500 GT, 1,055 ft long, 3,950 passenger capacity 

Liberty of the Seas: 154,407 GT, 1,111 ft long, 4,370 passenger capacity (4,960 maximum theoretical capacity if every bed was occupied)

 

 

I did wonder about that claim, though I took it on too much faith that the Chron's fact checkers looked into that first - should have confirmed it for myself as you did.

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9 hours ago, ultimate_ed said:

I'm not sure this one adds anything new, but it does lend credence to the story.

Thanks for posting this new information! I think this definitely lends credence to the story with confirmation that the Port and Royal Caribbean have signed a Memorandum of Understanding and are now working toward a firm contract.  That's a typical sequence of events for something of this magnitude.  From the article: "Rees said the port has a memorandum of understanding with Royal Caribbean and is working toward a contract. Royal Caribbean would build the terminal, investing about $100 million in Galveston."

Regarding the size of the ship, the article does hedge a little by saying "one of" the largest ships.

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1 hour ago, Galveston Steve said:

Regarding the size of the ship, the article does hedge a little by saying "one of" the largest ships.

I emailed her and pointed out her inaccuracies.  She updated the article, changed the headline, removed the references to Carnival having the largest ship in Galveston and that Vista is Carnival's largest ship.  Someone has to fact check the Chron...

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31 minutes ago, twangster said:

I emailed her and pointed out her inaccuracies.  She updated the article, changed the headline, removed the references to Carnival having the largest ship in Galveston and that Vista is Carnival's largest ship.  Someone has to fact check the Chron...

Haha!  Well done @twangster!

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On ‎8‎/‎18‎/‎2018 at 1:06 PM, twangster said:

Furthermore, Vista isn't Carnival's largest ship either.  Sister ship Carnival Horizon is 96 GT larger and has 4 additional passengers.

That's a lot of extra weight for just 4 more passengers!  :51_scream:

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As heard live on RCperiscopers.live and as reported by @Matt on this website, Royal Caribbean has confirmed that it is their intention to put an Oasis Class ship in Galveston, but they are still working out the funding and approvals:  @Matt quoted Royal Caribbean's Chief Marketing Officer: "It's being worked on by government and local officials in Galveston, but to Michael's point [referring to CEO Michael Bayley], it is our intention, but we need a few more things to go our way in terms of funding and approvals. We'd love to have an Oasis Class ship in Galveston."

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